The author of «Yanabi-ul-Muwadda» narrates (on page 492) from «Manaqib» of Khawrazmi that Abu Abdullah Hussein-ibn-Ali said:- 'Once when I visited my grandfather, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) he made me sit on his lap and then said: Allah shall select from your rear, nine Imams (leaders) the ninth of whom shall be the 'Qa'em'. All of them are the same in rank and position before Allah.'
In the same book, the author narrates (on page 493) from the afore-said book of Khawrazmi who narrates from Ali (A.S.) that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) said: 'Imams after me are twelve in number. The first is you ('O Ali) and the last of them shall be the 'Qaem' through whom Allah shall liberate the East and West.
Ali (A.S.) in «Nahjul-Balagha» says:- The earth shall not remain vacant of God's 'Hujjat' and 'Qaem'. He is either manifest and well-known or concealed and fearful (from his enemies). Taftazani has narrated from Ali (A.S.) the same as above.
In this regard, there is another tradition which is famous amongst Shias and Sunnis and as far as the authenticity of this tradition is concerned, there exists no controversy between the two sects. In this tradition, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) says: 'The one who dies and does not recognize the Imam of his age has died the death of ignorance.'
We ask: Who is the one who is the Imam of this time? This is a question with the inevitable and the correct reply that in accordance with reason and the traditions whose authenticity is certified, he is none other than that the Shiite say which is Mahdi the Awaited one.
The following are the evidences which prove our claim as correct.
The first evidence is that traditions clearly stipulate this fact that he is the Caliph (vicegerent) of Allah and the Divine Hujjat (Proof) and what can be understood from these two attributes, is that its possessor must be an Imam i.e. the one owning status on behalf of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) because Imamate according to us (i.e. the Shias) is having not much meaning other than guardianship of religious and worldly affairs on behalf of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.).
As per the traditions which we have mentioned before, it became apparent that Mahdi, the Awaited one is the same Abul-Qasim Muhammad-ibn-Hassan Askari. And when it is proved that Mahdi will be the Caliph and Hujjat of Allah on the day of his emergence, it will be proven that at present too, he is the Caliph and Hujjat of Allah and Imamate too. According to us he would not be anything other than this because amongst the Muslims, there is no one who reckons Imam to be separate from Caliph and Hujjat.
In other words, if someone says that the Imam of the Age is not Mahdi, he is bound to reject one of the 'Following two matters: Firstly that Mahdi, the Awaited one is not Muhammad-ibn-Hassan Askari and secondly that Mahdi shall neither be Allah's Cliph nor Hujjat at the time of his emergence.
In this regard, we say: Since both of these points have been proved as per the propriate traditions, there remains no way to reject any one of them let alone both.
Secondly, in many of the traditions (previously mentioned for our readers) we have been enjoined to obey and follow him and forbidden from disobeying and recalcitrating against him. Rather in some of the traditions it has come that anyone who obeys him has obeyed Allah and anyone who disobeys him has disobeyed Allah. Now, the essential condition for enjoinment of obedience and forbiddance from disobedience is (without any condition) his very existence - an Imam impeccable from every error and oblivion.
Indeed, enjoinment of his obedience and forbiddance from his disobedience guides us in all cases to two things:
Firstly that Mahdi is immaculate. Otherwise enjoinment of his obedience would necessitate obedience in all cases, even in sins. Similarly forbiddance from disobedience would lead sometimes to forbiddance from obedience of Allah. For clarifying this matter we further say: If he is not infallible, it is possible that he may command us to disobedience of Allah and forbid us from His obedience. Consequently what will necessarily follow is that enjoinment of his obedience will amount to enjoinment of disobedience of Allah and forbiddance from his disobedience will amount to forbiddance from obedience of Allah. Rather what is incidental to the statement of Imam (A.S.) (which has partly come in this tradition) that anyone who obeys him has obeyed Allah and anyone who disobeys him has disobeyed Allah is this that in case of Mahdi not being infallible, disobedience of Allah will be obedience of Allah and obedience of Allah will be equal to His disobedience and as per reason, such a thing is far from the truth.
Secondly, enjoinment of obedience and forbiddance from disobedience generally envelops all the people unconditionally. Thus his obedience becomes obligatory and his disobedience forbidden upon every one (other than him) and if there was another Imam this decree would not generally be correct because, in some of the instances it would amount to enjoinment of disobedience of Imam and forbiddance from his obedience (as if the view of one of those two Imams would be contrary to the view of the other).
Thirdly, there are many traditions which prove that Mahdi is the twelfth Caliph of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) or his twelfth legatee or the twelfth Imam or the twelfth 'Hujjat' from the Hujjats (Proofs) of Allah. Then surely traditions distinctly approve Hazrat in the matter of successorship, executorship, Imamate and being the Proof (Hujjat) of Allah upon the people.
Verily, by decree of this tradition, Mahdi possesses these virtues and qualities right from the time of his birth until his departure from this world. However, it must be said that he was silent during the time of his father, Hassan Askari and it was obligatory for him to obey his father. But after his father's demise he has been, (till the end of his life) the caliph of Allah, legatee of His Messenger, leader and Hujjat and the essential condition for this matter is that he should be an Imam in this period.
Fourthly, there are 'Mustafiza' and rather 'Mutawatir' traditions from Shia and Sunni sources that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) said: 'The leaders, successors and legatees after me are twelve'.
In some of those traditions it is mentioned that they are from Quraish while in some other traditions mention is made that they are from Bani-Hashim. Yet, some of the traditions speak of Ali as the first Imam and Mahdi as the last. Even, the names of each of the Imams have been mentioned one after the other and those wishing to have information about them can refer to the books of tradition especially 'Musnad' of Imam Ahmad and 'Mustadrak' of Abu Abdullah Hakem. Similarly, they can refer to the books which have been written about their virtues like 'Manaqib' of Khawrazmi, 'Fara'ed-us-Semtain' and 'Yanabi-ul-Muwadda'. Now, in order to substantiate what we have written we shall set forth some of them from the book 'Durarul-Musawiyya-Fi-Shar-ul-Aqa'ed - ul-Jafariya'.
For example, Bukhari in his 'Sahih' narrates from Muslim who narrates from Jabir-ibn-Samara that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) said:- 'Religion shall continue to exist consistantly till the time when the Hour is established and the twelve successors from Quraish who are the guardians over the People have come and gone. Ali-ibn-Muhammad too has referred to this tradition and concludes that nine of them shall be from the rear of Hussein and Mahdi is one of them.
Yet, Abdur-Rahman-ibn-Samara narrates: 'I asked the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) as such- 'Show me the path of salvation.'
Hazrat replied: 'O son of Samara. Whenever desires diversify and opinions differ, it is upon you to stick to Ali-ibn-Abi Talib. Verily, he is the leader of my 'Ummah' and my successor after me.... Surely, from them are the Imams of my 'Ummah' and the two Chiefs of the youths of Paradise (i.e. Hassan and Hussein) and from Hussein is nine descendants where the last of them is the 'Qaem' of my 'Ummah'.
Also, Ibn-Mughazali narrates from Abu Imamah that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) said:-
'Imams after me are twelve and all of them are from Quraish. Nine of them are from the rear of Hussein and among them is Mahdi.
Moreover, it has been narrated from Abu Saleh who has narrated from Zaid-ibn-Thabit that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) said: "The world shall not come to an end until a person from the progeny of Hussein emerges for leading my nation. He shall fill the earth with Justice just as it had been filled with oppression."
We asked: Who is that person?
He replied: "He is the ninth Imam from the descendant of Hussein."
Another tradition has been narrated from Hassan-ibn-Ali Raazi where the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) in the end of the same tradition says: "Pious and infallible leaders shall emerge from the descendents of Hussein. Among them will be Mahdi and he is the same one behind whom Isa-ibn-Maryam shall pray and he shall be the ninth one from the offspring of Hussein.
Fifthly, some traditions have come regarding the occultation of Mahdi and his concealment from the people. These traditions (which will be mentioned later on) clearly stipulate that Mahdi (A.S.) is a leader whose obedience is obligatory - whether in his absence or presence and whether he is manifest or hidden. As such, the Muslims are bound to recognize him.
The author of 'Yanabi-ul-Muwadda' narrates on page 488 from Saeed-ibn-Jubair who narrates from Ibn Abbass that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) said: Verily, Ali is the leader of my 'Ummah' after me and from his progeny shall be the 'Qaem' who shall fill the earth with equity and Justice just as it had been filled with cruelty and oppression. 'I swear by Allah who appointed me by the truth and as the bearer of glad-tidings and as a warner that those whose belief are firm in his Imamate (during Occultation) are more scarce than red matches.'
The author of afore-said book narrates from 'Manaqib' of Khawrazmi that Abu Jafer Muhammad Baqir (A.S.) said: The Holy Prophet (S.A.W .A.) said: 'Blessed is he who finds the 'Qaem' from my Ahl-e-Bait in a state when he has followed him during the period of his Occultation and has made friendship with his friends and enmity with his enemies. Such a person is counted to be amongst my companions and friends and he shall be the most honourable person before me on the Day of Judgement.
The same author of the same book quotes on page 494 from 'Manaqib' of Khawrazmi and he from Jabir-ibn-Abdullah Ansari that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) said: 'O Jabir, Verily my legatees and the leaders of the Muslims after me are firstly Ali followed by Hassan, Hussein, Ali-ibn-Hussein, Muhammad-ibn-Ali famous as 'Baqi'. Very soon you shall meet him and when you do so, send my greetings to him. After him shall come Jafer-ibn-Muhammad, Musa-ibn-Jafar, Ali-ibn-Musa, Muhammad-ibn-Ali, Ali-ibn-Muhammad, Hassan-ibn-Ali and the 'Qaem' successively. His name shall be the same as my name and his agnomen too shall be the same as mine. He is the son of Hassan-ibn-Ali and the one through whom God shall relieve the East and West. He shall remain hidden from his friends such that they will not remain steadfast in his Imamate except those whom God has tested their hearts through faith.(81)
The author of Durarul-Musawiyah writes: 'Muhammad-ibn-Muhammad-ibn-Mahmoud Hafez Bukhari famous as Khawja Parsa, in the margin of his book 'Fasl-ul-Khetab' when referring to the birth of Mahdi says: Traditions which are at hand in this regard are beyond limit and traditions about the virtues of Mahdi (the one who is the Master of the time; the Hidden one from the public eye, and the one who is existing at all times) are many and in support of each other. Moreover, traditions about his emergence, his illuminating light, his bringing to life the Shariat of Muhammd, his battles in the way of Allah and his purifying the world from its filth are all decisive. His companions are pure from every misgiving and sound from every flaw. They are those who have traversed the path of guidance and gone towards research through the channel of truth. Caliphate and Imamate shall end in him and right from the time his father bid farewell to this world he has been the Imam and will remain so until the Day of Judgement. Isa shall pray behind him and acknowledge him and will invite the people to follow his creed which is nothing but the creed of the Holy Prophet.'
Sayyid (Hamed Hussein, the author of Abaqaat-ul-Anwaar) in 'Esteqsa-ul-Efham' says:
'A copy of what has been written in this margin has been read out to him (i.e. Khawja Parsa) and corrected.'